The Thomas Hardy novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge concentrates mainly on the life and events of a certain Michael Henchard. He endures many severe events as the Mayor of Casterbridge and his fate seems to constantly oppose him. Fate plays an enormous role in the life of Michael Henchard and indeed, whenever he seems to recover from his previous misfortune; as a consequence of his stubborn characteristics, his fate stands resilient in his path to happiness once again. Certainly, Michael Henchard's fate is an outcome of his behaviour towards his family and friends but it is also evident that Henchard's fate was not in favour of him from the day of his birth. Conversely, Henchard does possess some positive aspects and therefore, this implies that character is not directly proportional to fate. Henchard's only possession at the conclusion of the novel is his fate yet this fate is the cause of all the tragedies with his loved ones and above all, himself.
Michael Henchard is a complex character with many differing characteristics and throughout the entire novel it is extremely complex to decide whether Henchard is in actual fact a desperate and innocently self-seeking man or an irrational operator. This hay-trusser in the introduction of the novel is described as a "man, with the instinct of a perverse character". The readers of the novel immediately build up a pessimistic image of Michael Henchard.
" dogged and cynical personal indifference.".
This image is further enhanced when in Weydon-Priors, Henchard, in a drunken state auctions his wife and child. Up until the auctioning it seemed that Henchard's good fate was in short supply because of his financial position yet he still had control over this fate. Nevertheless, the auctioning did not just dispose of Susan and Elizabeth-Jane, but also whatever little fate Henchard had control over. The sale of his wife conveys that Henchard is emotionally brutal and impulsive.